Chip Seal

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General Parameters & Advice

Chip Seals are designed for application on pavements that have adequate structural capacity. If a pavement is displaying structural distress, a different treatment should be selected. If a pavement is experiencing active rutting and/or shoving, it is not a candidate for chip sealing.

Site Selection for Specific Distresses

Loss of Fines

Although chip seals are widely used in the preservation of good roads, the treatment may also be used to address specific pavement distresses early on. Thus solving pavement problems early and avoiding more invasive measures that may be required later on.

LOSS OF FRICTION:  chip seals increase the skid resistance of the roadway. If there is a roadway that has low friction numbers, a chip seal can increase those friction numbers.

MINOR CRACKING/WATER INFILTRATION: chip seals address minor cracks, less than ¼”. Remember that water is our number one enemy and anything we can do to keep the water out is good.


Road Type, Surface, and Traffic Specifics

Rural Highway

Chip seals can be used on a variety of road types, and throughout the range of traffic level:

  • Interstate highways
  • State highways
  • Collector streets
  • Local streets


Weather or seasonal limitations as described in the Construction section should be followed closely.  Most chip seal failures are due to construction that is too early or too late in the season.

If you are in the snow belt, the design embedment should be such as to prevent snow plow damage.  For example, MnDOT's recommended embedment percentage is 70%.

  • Good Candidate - Minor Cracking
  • Good Candidate - Friction Loss
  • Bad candidate - Wide crack
  • Bad candidate - Rutting